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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 16, 2012 4:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: playing while tripping

They got good at taking small doses.
And keep in mind that, after months with Owsley, they also got a lot of experience with playing while tripping. I suppose it's like any motor skill that improves with practice...
But, more likely, they could also figure out just how much to take without incapacitating themselves.

According to them they tripped as a band at shows mainly in the early days ('66), and after that just for select shows. I think '74's the last year you really hear about it; by then other drugs were more in favor.

Bob Weir:
"When we finally got to the Acid Tests, we’d set up before the whole thing began – wisely so, I think. And then we’d take acid, and then we’d wait until we could kind of deal with the physical. Back then, God knows who decided what the appropriate doses were gonna be and stuff like that. So there were times where it was a couple of hours, at least, before we could come around and make a stab at trying to play. And oftentimes, the first couple of attempts, we’d get on, we’d pluck around a little, and we’d abandon ship pretty quick. You know, it was hard to relate. We were heavily into hallucination and stuff like that. We got better and better at it as time wore on, so that we could take a pretty massive dose and hang in there after a while...
Our psychedelic era was 1965, ’66, early ’67. By the time we were in the studio and recording, we’d kind of moved past that. We had a new focus. We were rehearsing a lot and playing a lot. We had gotten to a point of diminishing returns with taking acid after a couple of years... We started going back to the same places, and so it seemed, “Okay, well, we got what we could out of that.” We didn’t turn our backs on it so much as started looking in other directions."
http://jasobrecht.com/bob-weir-psychedelic-san-francisco-birth-grateful-dead/

Phil talks in his book about one incident where he got over-dosed before a show & could barely play (the Fillmore West, June '69) - of course, you can't tell listening to the show.

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Poster: Arck Date: Aug 16, 2012 5:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: playing while tripping

I've wondered about this for a while. I think there are some shows where the music alone sounds unusual. As far as official releases go, I'd suggest Fillmore East Feb '69 and the Rock Pow Wow thing. If you compare them with shows from the same time, they (to me) seem a lot edgier, much more aggressive and much more raw. More "garage". There's also a lot more stage banter. Even the slow songs seem rushed or overly urgent.

Perhaps I've convinced myself of something that isn't there. Woodstock is hardly urgent but that's in a league of its own.

I don't think these guys could have tripped as much as has occasionally been suggested and not all have ended up in institutions. As you've suggested, it probably became an exceptional thing rather than the norm.

Actually, I've just remembered that in the liner notes to one of the Dick's Picks (vol. 26 perhaps) Bear says they dosed on the weekends...

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 16, 2012 1:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: playing while tripping

Bear said they would dose on Saturdays - which makes sense, because the Acid Tests were all on Saturdays.
It's rather remarkable that at most of the actual Acid Test shows we have, the band sounds pretty put-together.

One show where I think it's pretty obvious is 5/7/69. They're perhaps even more messed-up than Woodstock. (Remember at Woodstock that it wasn't just acid, there was also the slight matter of a collapsing stage & constant electric shocks.)

But in general, I don't think we can tell the 'straight' shows from the 'tripping' shows. Especially when, at that stage, the music itself was designed to be trippy...born out of acid, so to speak.

Garcia did mention (tho I can't remember just where) that by the '70s they tried to avoid getting too dosed before shows since it would just mess up the playing.

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Poster: Arck Date: Aug 16, 2012 8:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: playing while tripping

Yeah, I agree. It's quite ironic to be trying to tell when these guys were dosed when, as you say, at least for the early days every note of the music was arguably born out of LSD.

Sam Cutler refers to dosing with the group at the Capitol Theatre in 1970. I can't if he says which show it was or if its even possible to tell but my memory tells me it was one of the March shows.

There's also the '78 show on one of the Dick's Picks when they laugh through everything but that's well known as the mescaline show.

I'm just previewing some of the Polo Field tracks. What a mess. They sound completely baffled by what they're doing.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 17, 2012 12:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: playing while tripping

It was either 3/20 or 3/21/70 in Cutler's book... I haven't read it in a while, so I don't remember if he wrote about dosing *with* the band or dosing *others*... There were plenty of shows where 'refreshments' were served to the audience or to naive bystanders, but we can't assume the band indulged.
Those Port Chester shows in particular sure don't sound like the band's out of it at all.

So there aren't really set guidelines to determine which were the 'tripping' shows... Like 5/5/67, the band sounds super-high in the stage banter, and yet the playing itself is telepathically tight. That New Potato Caboose could be Exhibit A for the benefits of LSD! If that's how they could play when they were wasted...

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Poster: mklsgl Date: Aug 16, 2012 2:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: playing while tripping

Take Weir's public statements as you will. 6/18/83: I know the band was dosed on the same Donald Ducks as at least half of the audience.